A devastated farmer has called on dog walkers using Pendle Hill to keep their pets on a lead after one of his pedigree sheep had to be put down after it was savagely attacked on the popular beauty spot.
Richard Hargreaves, whose family have farmed in Barley for around 70 years, said attacks on his sheep from dogs are now nearly a weekly event on the hill facing ever increasing numbers of walkers.
The third generation farmer, who says he is at his wit's end, has now warned that he will be forced to shoot dogs he witnesses attacking his sheep.
The latest incident, early on Saturday, saw one of Mr Hargreaves' sheep suffer devastating injuries, which has caused huge upset to the family. The sheep was left with no tongue and half its mouth bitten off.
Mr Hargreaves, of Meadow Bank Farm, said: "Pendle Hill has always been popular with walkers but the number we see every day now is bigger than ever. A lot of walkers take their dogs and I have no problem with that so long as they keep them on a lead.
"It is now a weekly event where my sheep are either chased or attacked by dogs. Not only is this upsetting but it is also affecting my livelihood. These are pedigree sheep worth several thousand pounds each with substantial breeding behind them.
"People don't realise that this is my family's living. All I ask is that people keep their dogs on a lead at all times. Sadly, I often get a mouthful of abuse when I ask dog walkers to do this if I see them on Pendle Hill.
"The law needs changing because it is not right that this keeps happening. It has got to the stage where I will be forced to shoot a dog if I see it attacking my sheep. It is not the dogs' fault because it is in their nature to chase. The owners need to realise this and also that even chasing sheep can cause them great distress."
Mr Hargreaves' wife Angela said it was beyond belief that dog walkers do not follow instructions posted around Pendle Hill to keep dogs on leads.
She was also angry and upset at the dog owner who left the sheep to suffer after the recent attack.
She said: "Whoever was responsible left this sheep to die and did not report it. The sheep was left in agony and we had to bring it back home to the farm to be put to sleep.
"My son saw another walker with two dogs off the lead and asked him to put them on a lead. He was given a mouthful of abuse. He asked this man to look in the trailer where the injured sheep was.
"He did put the dog on the lead then. My son has put what happened on Facebook which has received hundreds of comments and shares. This is something that most people feel disgusted and upset about."